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Hounds Rally for a 12-9 Win, But Fall Short in a 2nd Game 8-7 Loss to Northeastern

Box Score - Game #1, ENMU 12, NSU 9
Box Score - Game #2, ENMU 8, NSU 7

TAHLEQUAH, O.K. — Eastern New Mexico University overcame a four run deficit in the first game for a 12-9 win and fell one run short in a final inning five run rally to lose 8-7 in a split against Northeastern State University on Friday, Feb. 24 at Rousey Field. The Greyhounds, playing in their second Lone Star Conference Crossover series in a row, have a 11-3 overall record. The Redmen, who compete in the LSC North Division, won their second game of the season for a 2-7 overall record.

Greyhound starting pitcher Kelly Crain (Sr., RHP, Gordon, TX/Gordon HS) gave up a pair of runs in each of the first two innings in the opener. In the top of the third, Derrick Kennedy (So., 3B, San Antonio, TX/G.W. Brackenridge HS) drew a walk with two outs and was able to waltz across the plate on Justin Gee’s (Sr., RF, Clovis, NM/Clovis HS) third homer of the season. Mike McDuffie (Jr., 2B, Albuquerque, NM/Sandia HS) made it back-to-back homeruns, as his solo shot got Eastern to within one run at 4-3. The Redmen answered in the bottom of the inning with four runs on only two hits. Northeastern made the most of two singles, by taking advantage of three wild pitches, a passed ball, an error and two walks for a 8-3 advantage.

ENMU got to within three runs with a two-run fourth inning. Jeff Roemer (Jr., 1B, Woodbury, MN/Rochester Community College) led off the inning with a single and after a walk to Matt Hinojosa (Sr., SS, Baytown, TX/Loredo Community College) both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan French (Sr., CF, Carlsbad, NM/Trinadad State Junior College). Another walk by Redmen starter Cody Cisper loaded the bases and was followed with the third walk of the inning to force Roemer across the plate. Before getting out of the inning with two consecutive outs, Cisper threw a wild pitch that got Hinojosa home for an 8-5 score. NSU got one run back in the bottom of the inning on a solo homerun by Nash Garcia.

In the fifth, the Greyhounds scored for the third consecutive inning as Roemer recorded two RBIs and Hinojosa hit a RBI single to get to within one run again at 9-8. Eastern took the lead for good in the sixth inning on McDuffie’s second homer of the game, his fifth of the season, a two run shot for a 10-9 Hound lead. ENMU added two insurance runs in its final at bat of the seven inning game. Kennedy provided a double to drive in Tim Crafton (Jr., PH/LF, Farmington, NM/New Mexico Military Institute) and French for a 12-9 lead. Keith Balderaz (So., RHP, Monahans, TX/Monahans HS) came in as the closer and was able to overcome a one out single and a fielding error, as he stranded two Redmen for his fifth save of the season.

In the second game, Eastern took an early 1-0 lead as Gee drove in Hinojosa from third with a sacrifice fly to left field. NSU took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning, getting two runs on two hits and an error. The Redmen kept the pressure on Eastern’s starter David Swinconos (Sr., LHP, Lubbock, TX/Frenship HS) with four runs on four hits in the second for a 6-1 lead. Roemer came in relief in the third inning and gave up a run in the third and one in the fourth for an 8-1 Northeastern advantage.

The Greyhounds began pecking at the seven run lead in the fifth, getting one run on a single by Micah Bernhardt (Sr., LF, Gypsum, CO/Arapahoe Community College) that drove in Casey Bigham (Fr., 1B, New Deal, TX/New Deal HS) from second base. Down by six going into their final at bat, the Hounds began the seventh with a leadoff single by Kelton Hayes (Jr., DH, Guthrie, OK/Northlake Community College). After a strikeout, NSU’s starting pitcher Kevin Humphrey hit Bigham on a 2-2 count. A single by Mick Letofsky (So., PH, Aurora, CO/Phoenix College) loaded the bases and was followed by a two RBI single by Bernhardt to get the Hounds to within four runs, 8-4. Letofsky scored on a fielder’s choice hit by Kennedy and Gee followed with a two RBI double to get Eastern to with one run with two outs. NSU sent in James Rappe to get the final out, but catcher Brett Roberts’ throw to third baseman John Ford ended the game with a tag on Gee’s attempt at stealing third.

Although, the second game ended on Gee’s failed steal attempt, he went 4-7 in the double header, with five RBIs and two runs scored. Bernhardt went 2-4 in the second game with three RBIs and scored one run. Kennedy managed two hits in both games, including four RBIs and scoring twice. Charlie Ward (So., RHP, Roswell, NM/Trinadad State Junior College), who pitched two scoreless innings in the opener, was credited with the win and remained undefeated with a 3-0 record. Swinconos took the loss in the second game and remained winless this season with a 0-2 record.

Eastern will remain in Tahlequah, OK for another double-header against Northeastern on Saturday, Feb. 25 beginning at 12 p.m. MST. The Greyhounds return home for a four game series in another LSC Crossover match-up against Cameron University on Friday, Mar. 10 and Saturday, Mar. 11.